Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Existing Vaccine Facilities Can Handle Flu Pandemic

Currently, flu vaccines are made from hen eggs, but in light of a possible pandemic and ongoing shortages even during normal flu season, the government and private corporations have been scrambling for new and faster ways to make a flu vaccine.
by Staff Writers
Ann Arbor MI (SPX) Sep 15, 2006
The most cost effective and quickest way to respond to a flu pandemic within the next five years is to use existing facilities to make vaccines from cell cultures, new research suggests. In a study led by University of Michigan professor of chemical and biomedical engineering Henry Wang and doctoral student Lyle Lash, researchers examined the economics of producing egg versus cell culture vaccines in the event of a flu pandemic.

They found that training personnel to make cell culture vaccines in existing facilities is the only way to make enough doses to cover the United States in a short time without requiring huge capital investments to build new dedicated flu vaccine cell culture facilities.

The study builds upon research presented last year at the American Chemical Society National Meeting. This research will be also be presented at ACS in the "Economics of Biopharmaceutical Processes" session at 2 p.m. on Sept. 14. The research presented last year focused on how the use of existing cell culture facilities and other vaccine development and manufacturing changes can cut down the time to respond to a pandemic.

Currently, flu vaccines are made from hen eggs, but in light of a possible pandemic and ongoing shortages even during normal flu season, the government and private corporations have been scrambling for new and faster ways to make a flu vaccine. Some options include building new and bigger facilities or to retrofit existing facilities.

The reasons to shift from egg to cell culture production are time and capacity, both of which are critical factors in responding to a pandemic, researchers said. It takes much longer to compile millions of hen eggs than it would to grow up existing cell lines from frozen vials, Lash said. While cell culture has a lower yield than egg culture, there is more existing capacity for cell culture than for inoculating and processing eggs.

"Based on existing dosages, we'd have enough doses in about 3 to 4 months to cover the U.S. with the system we propose," Lash said. Currently, it would take six months to make 250 to 300 million doses of pandemic flu vaccine for the United States. "What we're proposing could make 600 million doses in four months."

There are about 15 facilities in the country that make protein products from mammalian cell cultures where personnel could be trained to make flu vaccines using cell cultures, said Lash.

The expense for companies would be the cost of the downtime necessary to train personnel and to run test batches, researchers said. With research into different processes for purifying the vaccine, it would not be necessary to renovate facilities, he said.

Many companies have been investing in developing cell culture flu vaccines due to government funding and the increase in price of the seasonal flu vaccine, Lash said. Before there became a flu vaccine shortage, one dose cost about $1.60. Now, each dose commands $8 to $10.

This profit margin is still low compared to the profits that existing cell culture facilities can make off their protein products. Lash said for the plan to work there must be some type of government funding to subsidize companies for lost production time due to training staff. Researchers envision a sort of national guard approach, with staff trained and on standby to respond to an pandemic.

Related Links
Wang at Michigan
Flu at Michigan
The science and news of Epidemics on Earth

Indonesian Bird Flu Toll Increases Further
London (UPI) Sep 13, 2006
Indonesia, the country whose population has been worst hit by avian influenza, has had its death toll officially revised by the World Health Organization, taking the figure to 49. This latest increase represents the death of a 5-year-old boy who was felled by the disease six months ago, WHO officials announced Wednesday.

  • Ideas To Rebuild Hurricane-Devastated New Orleans Showcased At Italian Fair
  • China's natural disasters cost billions, kill thousands: report
  • The Role Of Academia In The Global Aid Industry
  • Keesler Hospital Takes Big Step Forward

  • Computer Model Looks At How To Cool The Earth Back Down
  • Warming Climate May Put Chill On Arctic Polar Bear Population
  • Meeting Tries To Bring Poor Nations Onboard Climate Change Pact
  • English Country Gardens Under Attack From Global Warming

  • GeoEye Approved For Listing On The Nasdaq Global Market
  • Scientists Sketch City In Geocyberspace
  • Google Maps Spotlight Changes Across The Earth
  • Smoke Plume Dispersal From The World Trade Center Disaster

  • OPEC Casts A Dark Eye On The Greening Of Energy
  • Building A World Beating Solar Energy Industry In Australia
  • Investment In Russian Power Sector To Hit 80 Billion Dollars
  • Tiny Fuel Cell Might Replace Batteries In Laptop Computers

  • Existing Vaccine Facilities Can Handle Flu Pandemic
  • Indonesian Bird Flu Toll Increases Further
  • Bird Outbreaks In Four Countries
  • University Launches New Website On 1918 Flu Pandemic

  • California Scientists Find Natural Way To Control Spread Of Destructive Argentine Ants
  • US Court Jails Animal Rights Activists
  • Lay Off The Stingrays Warns Australian Environoment Minister
  • Bizarre Rodent Traits Deepen Mystery Of Genetics and Evolution

  • Residents Riot As Ivory Coast Promises Start To Toxic Waste Clean-Up
  • The Metallurgy Of China And Protecting The Environment
  • Environmentalists Warn Against Moves To Open Andaman Islands
  • Ivory Coast Pollution Crisis Worsens Sharply

  • You May Be Losing More Than Just Your Memory
  • Modern Humans, Not Neandertals, May Be Evolution's 'Odd Man Out'
  • Too Many Men Could Destabilize Society
  • How Did Our Ancestors' Minds Really Work

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement